Supreme Court allows Lesbian Co-habitation (Nepal)

Published Media: The Himalayan Times

Published Date: 2012-11-05


KATHMANDU: The Supreme Court today permitted a lesbian couple to live together as per their wish.

A division bench of justices issued the order responding to a habeas corpus petition seeking the release of Rajani Shahi, the lesbian partner of Prem Kumari Nepali.

Rajani had expressed willingness to stay with her friend Prem Kumari but not with her husband Pradeep Shahi, against whom she has filed for divorce. The bench upheld Rajani’s wish.

During the hearing, Rajani said she did not want to live with her husband, but preferred to live with her partner Prem Kumari.

2012 Lesbian Supreme Court Case Nepal

Concluding the hearing, the bench upheld her wish to live with anyone she wanted and said there was no need for any authority to interfere. “She is capable of deciding for herself,” the bench said adding, “Since she is mentally sound, and is not a minor, there is no need to go against her wish.”

Rajani had tied the knot with Pradeep twelve years back. She has an eleven-year-old daughter. After meeting Prem Kumari three years back and was attracted to her and started living with her.

Charging her of harbouring unnatural attraction as a result of Prem Kumari’s hypnotism, her husband and relatives barred her from meeting Prem Kumari for many months. However, she managed to spend many months with Prem Kumari in the shelter given by Laxmi Ghalan, chairperson of Mitini Nepal, an organisation of lesbians.

Her relatives took her under their control from Kathmandu District Court, where she had gone in relation to her divorce case.

They then kept her for 45 days in the rehabilitation centre of Maiti Nepal. According to advocate Hari Phuyal, they agreed to take appropriate decision as per her wish after 45 days. “But no decision was taken. So Prem Kumari filed the habeas corpus petition seeking apex court intervention to release Rajani from Maiti Nepal’s rehabilitation centre. She was taken there as per the National Women Commission decision. Her family had requested NWC in this regard.

Phuyal had argued on behalf of Rajani, demanding a court order to settle the case because the issue could not be resolved for years even though National Human Rights Commission and National Women Commission were involved.